News release from Community Harvest Food Bank:
Hunger Report Data Consistent with Needs in Fort Wayne & northeast Indiana
(August 18, 2014) – The faces of hungry people are different, but the number of hungry people in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana largely remains unchanged, says our region’s expert on hungry Hoosiers. “I’m particularly concerned about the rising number of hungry school children and seniors,” says Jane Avery, executive director, Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc.
Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, released a report indicating one in eight Hoosiers living in Central Indiana are receiving emergency food distributed by church pantries and food banks. The information is part of a national study commissioned by Feeding America. Although Community Harvest did not participate in the report, Avery said her organization’s data is consistent with the Feeding America report.
Over the past 12 months, Avery said more than 90,000 unique/unduplicated residents of northeast Indiana received food from Community Harvest or from one of more than 400 member agencies that operate a service to the homeless, soup kitchen or food pantry. Approximately one in 7.5 residents, she said, sought food for themselves or their family (there are more than 654,000 residents living in the nine counties of northeast Indiana served by Community Harvest.) “By and large, the assistance we provide is for a short period of time. An unexpected repair bill to fix the family car or major household appliance causes folks to seek us out,” said Avery.
Avery pointed to data that reported more Indiana children under the age of 18 are living in poverty and data from schools that reveals a rising percentage of children eligible for free and reduced price meals.
“We’re blessed to have strong support from food industry partners, individual donors and volunteers. The annual budget of Community Harvest relies on foundations, grants and individuals donors to meet its annual budget expenses of $3.5 million. Last year, the agency distributed more than 12,500,000 pounds of food, most of which came from food drives and food industry partners such as Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, and General Mills to name a few.
Avery also expressed deep appreciation to the 9000 persons who volunteered their services to Community Harvest. “Our volunteers donated more than 66,000 hours or the equivalent of 34 full time employees. That’s incredible,” said Avery.
About Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana
Established in 1983, Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. feeds 21,100 people every week. Community Harvest is one of 202 regional food banks in the United States; there are 11 regional food banks in Indiana. Community Harvest feeds hungry people in the nine counties of northeast Indiana.
Feeding America’s webpage for the Hunger in America study